Thousands of baby spiders released in British countryside

October 22, 2010
A female fen raft spider. Thousands of baby spiders bred in a kitchen will be released into the countryside this week in a bid to revive an endangered species, a government biodiversity agency said.

Thousands of baby spiders bred in a kitchen will be released into the British countryside this week in a bid to revive an endangered species, a government biodiversity agency said Friday.

Some 3,000 baby fen raft reared by ecologist Helen Smith will be let loose in the Castle Marshes nature reserve in Suffolk, eastern England, according to Natural England.

The fen raft spider is classed as endangered in Britain and can be found at only two sites in England and one in Wales.

The spiders are large -- the body of an adult female can be as long as 23 millimetres (0.9 inches) -- with distinctive white, cream or yellow stripes across the abdomen.

The baby were reared in individual laboratory test tubes to prevent them from attacking each other, and were hand-fed with .

Smith said raising the creatures was an "exhausting" job.

"At one stage I was up until 2:00 am, seven days a week, feeding flies to hungry young spiders in my kitchen," she said.

"I'm excited and relieved to see them making their own way in the world -- and I can finally have my kitchen back."

Explore further: Mosquitoes supply spider with blood

Related Stories

Mosquitoes supply spider with blood

October 11, 2005

Scientists in Sydney, Australia, say they've determined an East African species of jumping spider prefers to prey on blood-engorged female mosquitoes. And that, the Macquarie University researchers said, demonstrates a rare ...

Study: Crickets 'forewarn' unborn babies about spiders

February 17, 2010

Just because cricket moms abandon their eggs before they hatch doesn't mean they don't pass wisdom along to their babies. New research in the American Naturalist shows that crickets can warn their unborn babies about potential ...

Spider spin doctor says arachnids getting bad rap

October 31, 2006

Halloween is a time when people don't seem to mind decorating their doorways with spider webs. But during the rest of the year, eight-legged creatures are on the wrong end of some bad press, according to one University of ...

The eyes have it for perfect predator

July 9, 2010

( -- The most striking feature of jumping spiders is their arsenal of big eyes. In contrast to web-building spiders, they rely on their excellent vision to actively hunt and catch their insect prey. New research ...

Recommended for you

The strange case of the scuba-diving fly

November 20, 2017

More than a century ago, American writer Mark Twain observed a curious phenomenon at Mono Lake, just to the east of Yosemite National Park: enormous numbers of small flies would crawl underwater to forage and lay eggs, but ...

Chimp females who leave home postpone parenthood

November 20, 2017

New moms need social support, and mother chimpanzees are no exception. So much so that female chimps that lack supportive friends and family wait longer to start having babies, according to researchers who have combed through ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (1) Oct 23, 2010
Ahh so cute...but definatly a demanding pet.
1 / 5 (1) Oct 23, 2010
But was there enough understanding of what caused their decline? Without that, these spiders might be doomed to starve, get poisoned, heasvily predated or whatever the problem is.
not rated yet Oct 23, 2010
DavirMcC: Excellent point.

Off-ish topic: Sorry for rating it low, an error i think made me think I gave you 6 stars(!), while giving one. I later discovered it was 5 groups of 6 stars each, and I just highlighted the first one.. java is a bit strange on my browser (not that anybody cares).
not rated yet Oct 23, 2010
Good science DavidMcC. Unless the adjutant the caused their decline has been moderated or adjusted for -- this scientist has wasted her time and the government the taxpayers money for nothing.
1 / 5 (8) Oct 23, 2010
Even if we would know about the exact reason of spider's decline (a many factors may be actually involved here - pesticides, fertilizers, water pollution with surfactants, etc.), we couldn't be able to remove them. Sometimes the direct preservation action (a bit desperate, I admit) may become more efficient and as such cheaper. The Helen's site is here.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.